Why Pollsters Dislike Nate Silver (UPDATED)

Jim Manzi analyzes why pollsters like John Zogby have their proverbial panties in a bunch over the likes of
Silver intelligently combines multiple polls to make more accurate predictions than are usually achieved by any one individual pollster. On one hand, the math of this is irresistible – in the real world, voting models often work. On the other hand, it would be pretty uncomfortable for a pollster to combine his own results with various competitive poll results to achieve equivalent accuracy (or at least to do so transparently). So, the pollsters do all the tedious work to collect and analyze the data, and then Nate Silver comes along and creates all this value with it in a way that is hard for the pollsters to duplicate. You can see why this situation might upset the pollsters.


Zogby’s open letter is the cri de coeur of an incumbent smart enough to see a chunk of his economic profits under threat as polling meta-analysts seize value, potentially increasingly forcing him to compete as a commodity supplier. What’s got to be especially galling is that (as far as I understand 538’s business model) his new competitors are literally giving it away.
Link added.

And this is yet another reason to love what Nate Silver is doing. Not only is he providing a service (and a damn-good one at that), but he is also bucking the system. These old-school pollsters are reeling about, trying to figure out how Silver, who simply runs a website, can be edging in on their business.


UPDATE :: Tyler Harber of Wilson Research Strategies responds to the contrary:
Overall, I like Nate and have never lost a client to his excellent analysis and aggregated data. And, I really don’t expect to anytime soon.
Perhaps I should update my post title to read, "Why Pollsters John Zogby Dislikes Nate Silver". Yeah. That's the ticket!